Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

EPA sued over inaction on factory farm air pollution

A coalition of environment, animal-welfare and community health organizations filed two lawsuits against EPA today, claiming the agency has failed to address air pollution from factory farms.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Environmental Integrity Project are leading the charge, claiming the EPA has not fulfilled its duty to protect citizens. The groups filed petitions in 2009 and 2011 asking the agency to set national ambient air quality standards for ammonia. When nitrogen from manure decomposes, it releases several gases, one of which is ammonia. Ammonia can volatize, and when it does, it’s harmful to farm laborers, birds and the neighboring homes.

The agency didn’t respond to the petitions, and the groups felt it had had enough time to do so. The legal action asks the courts to compel the EPA to address the petitions. If the EPA agrees to address the petitions and then finds them without merit, the groups say, they will file further legal action.

Rona Kobell

Washington reporters outline environmental stories they expect

On Friday, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program hosted a panel titled The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy at the Center’s Washington, D.C., headquarters., The panel featured some of D.C.’s top environmental writers and editors talking about what we could expect from Congress and the President this year.

I went because I am a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, and I wanted to see what the Washington reporters would say is most important. Though I am focused on regional issues, I want to know what’s coming down the pike, in terms of policy on waterways, toxins, pesticides, agriculture and climate change. It helps provide context for our stories in the Bay Journal.

Rona Kobell

Tom Horton receives 'Admiral of the Chesapeake' award

Bay Journal columnist Tom Horton was among more than a dozen Marylanders recognized as an “Admiral of the Chesapeake” by Gov. Marin O’Malley during his final days in office.

Karl Blankenship

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes,  and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox.   It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal.   The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber,  is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.   The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level  was drawn down to allow the trees to grow.    Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment.  Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.

David Harp
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Order of Chaos

Photographers go to great lengths to make order out of chaos. A good photograph has a strong point of view, clean lines, generally good composition. In this case chaos IS the point. Anyone who has ever witnessed a flock of snow geese erupt into flight knows that the sight and sounds of those birds says chaos to the extreme.    This flock was photographed with a 200mm lens, 2x tele extender, Olympus E-5 camera, 1250/sec. @ f5.6. ISO 200. The scene was made at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise, thin cloud cover.

David Harp
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January morning along the Choptank River

It was a very cold pre dawn January morning along the Choptank River.   Out to capture some winter scenes (since we didn't really have winter last year). I found this ice encrusted plant and made a photo in the early morning light.    Wanting more drama in the photo I waited until the rising sun barely kissed it and made another exposure. Sometimes is pays to wait for the light.Both photographs were made with an Olympus E-5, 12-60mm lens at 21mm.  

David Harp

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